In in my last post about perfectionism, I’ve ended up posing a question: what makes an accomplished perfectionist? In other words, how does one balance the act of accomplishment with a strive for perfection? It’s a pretty thin line if you ask me, and in this post, I’m going to shed light on some of the techniques you can use to achieve that.
Accomplished perfectionism is the fusion of two separate genes: those that empower a person to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and those that compels him or her to do their best possible job on these things.
To illustrate, take a look at the following phrases which are more likely to be said or thought by a carrier of each of these two genes:
|General thinking||"All or nothing"||"Best I can get"|
|Evaluation||"I can’t see beyond these little imperfections"||"This is perfect enough. What’s next?"|
|Standards||"I have to aim very high"||"I’ll do my best at what’s possible"|
|Results||"I’m so paranoid about getting it just right"||"Let’s have fun doing what we do best"|
|Reaching goals||"No use. I couldn’t do it the way it had to be done"||"It’s not what I wanted. But that’s alright. I’ll improve it and do better next time"|
|Failure||"Failure is not an option!"||"I’ll manage to do my best and learn if I fail"|
|Criticism||"I don’t think you know what you’re talking about"||"Thanks for your constructive criticism. I’ll see what I can do"|
|Lifestyle||"I’m not good enough. I know it. Life sucks"||"It’s amazing how far I’ve come. What’s the next step?"|
Being a perfectionist myself, I totally resonate with the phrases said or thought in the Perfectionist column. That’s why I set out to research practical ways to help me make the transition to be a high achiever while maintaining an adequate sense of perfectionism. I’ve found many resources on this subject, so I thought I’d do myself and my readers a favor by compiling all findings in a comprehensible format which can be quickly learned and adopted to create the best possible mutation of these two genes.
Change starts from within. If you really want to lose your neurotic perfectionism and embrace a more healthy one, then there are few things you need to change on the inside. Elizabeth Scott has set of great tips on how to tackle your inner change:
See the Positive. If you’re struggling with perfectionism, you probably have honed the skill of spotting mistakes in even the best works of others and of yourself. You may just naturally look for it, and notice it above all other things. While this habit may be difficult to just stop, you can soften your tendency to notice the bad by making a conscious effort to notice all that is good with your work and the achievements of others. If you notice something you don’t like about yourself or your work, for example, look for five other qualities that you do like. This will balance out your critical focus and become a positive new habit.
The next things you need to work on are your everyday working habits. Whether you work as a freelancer or at large multi-national cooperation, you need to consider implementing the following changes in order to accomplish more and be happy about it:
I hope during the course of this and my previous post, I’ve given all of you perfectionists out there a reason to rethink your strategy towards work and life and making appropriate changes that will ultimate lead to a happier and more peaceful life.
I’d like to end this post by sharing a fabulous quote from Stephen Manes’s book: Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days:
Congratulations! You’re not perfect! It’s ridiculous to want to be perfect anyway. But then, everybody’s ridiculous sometimes, except perfect people. You know what perfect is? Perfect is not eating or drinking or talking or moving a muscle or making even the teensiest mistake. Perfect is never doing anything wrong – which means never doing anything at all. Perfect is boring! So you’re not perfect! Wonderful! Have fun! Eat things that give you bad breath! Trip over your own shoelaces! Laugh! Let somebody else laugh at you! Perfect people never do any of those things. All they do is sit around and sip weak tea and think about how perfect they are. But they’re really not one-hundred-percent perfect anyway. You should see them when they get the hiccups! Phooey! Who needs ‘em? You can drink pickle juice and imitate gorillas and do silly dances and sing stupid songs and wear funny hats and be as imperfect as you please and still be a good person. Good people are hard to find nowadays. And they’re a lot more fun than perfect people any day of the week.
During my research for this post, I’ve come across few great articles that I think are worthwhile to read. Some of them have been used or linked to from this post: